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Teaching Module 1 – How to draw figures in different positions.

17 Mar, 2020

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Hi everybody in this very difficult time, lets do the best we can. I will be posting teaching modules up on this blog for the for seeable future, so you can all get stuck in and keep your drawing skills up to a high level. Hope you are all well and happy. By the way HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY.

This is going to be our drawing, it will be five figures walking to and from a tunnel bridge. We have nice perspective in the bridge and the figures are facing in two directions.

This is a step by step demonstration, you can draw this with pencils, chalk pastels, or whatever is handy. I have created this in a way that the younger children can read the drawings, if they have problems, older siblings or parents will have to explain the procedure to them. I will be posting more, this is the first lesson, next portraits. Every age can participate in this drawing. If you have suggestions please email me, the address is at the bottom. Regards Carmel


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Step 1

Draw two parallel lines.

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Step 2

Draw a semi circle, positioned measuring one third in length of the paper, now draw a second semi circle, about 2cm above it. This is the outline of our bridge.

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Step 3

Now draw a third smaller semi circle inside the two outer circles and at the bottom of the smaller circle draw a parallel line to the end of the larger semi circles. Now draw a connecting line from the sides of the smaller semi circle to the side of the inside semi circle. This will form our pathway, can you see how the perspective is forming linked by these lines

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Step 4

Now we are going to put in the stones that hold up the bridge, do you notice how the stone on top of the bridge is narrower at the bottom than the top, (this is called a Corbel Vault structure, as this stone pushes down it keeps all of the other stones in place, it is a very old style of architecture, look it up on Google) Draw the first two stones of the base in, these lines will be horizontal to the base line of the semi circle, now draw another two lines on either side to represent the remainder stones.

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Step 5

Now connect the outside stones on the arch with the inside smaller circle. Note how the lines get narrower as the approach the inside semi circle, this is perspective, as something goes away you make it narrower.

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Step 6

Draw a series of parallel lines connecting the outside bricks on the arch to the side of the page. These will form the stone walls on either side of the bridge.

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Step 7

Now we are going to put in the main figure of the dad carrying the child on his shoulders. First draw a line parallel to the side of the page, as this is going to be the main figure in the drawing make this your longest line. Now half the line, then divide the top section into 3 equal sections and then divide the bottom into 3 equal sections, now you have 6 equal sections, the head goes 7 times into the body so add on an extra section either at the top or bottom, now you have 7 equal sections.

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Step 8

Now in the first section draw an oval, this will represent the head of the figure, underneath this draw two ovals one on either side of the central line, these will represent the shoulders, now draw an oval in the middle, this will represent the wast, now two ovals one on either side of the line, this will represent the hips, now draw 3 ovals down the remainder of the line in the middle, these will represent the legs. I cannot say strongly enough how important it is to learn this as life drawing, drawing the human figure, is very important, this is the easiest way to learn how to draw it correctly.

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Step 9

Now we will draw a triangle across the two ovals and down to the centre of the second two ovals, this will represent the shoulders down to the waist.  Draw a line across the second two ovals and connect this line to the middle of the bottom of the ovals, now you have your second triangle, representing the hips.

Draw a line through the middle of the third oval from the top, this is where the shoulders are positioned, draw a line at the bottom of the 5 oval this is where the knees are located, at the bottom oval draw a line this is where the ankles will be.

Again to be able to draw this is very important, if this is all you learn how to draw correctly, I will be delighted, all age children can learn this, it just takes practice.  Very important all of the ovals have to be the same size.

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Step 10

Now fill with brown two rectangles from the top of the second triangle, which represents his waist down to the ankles, these will represent his trousers.

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Step 11

The figure is walking away, so you will have to draw in his shoe.  The heel of the shoe is a semi circle on top, then draw a curve down either side, at the bottom draw a horizontal line connecting the two curves, this will be his shoe.  Notice how the leg in front has very little shoe, this is because it has gone in front, so you don’t really see it.

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Step 12

Now fill in his shirt, this is a rectangle which goes from the top of his pants up to the top of the triangle, which represents his shoulders.

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Step 13

Now put in a triangle on either side of the rectangle, dont go out too far, this will form the sleeve of the t-shirt, now draw in the remainder of his arm to the elbow, as his hands to to the front.  Look of the shape of this section of his arm it narrows down to the elbow, wider on top where it meets the sleeve, fill with pink, representing skin.

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Step 14

Now we are going to put the child on top of daddy’s shoulders.  All we are seeing from the back of the child is from her bum up.  So all we draw here is two ovals, representing her bum, an oval in the middle, her waist, two ovals on top representing her shoulders, and the top oval representing her head.  Now remember this is a child, so what I would do first is make a mark where you think her head will be, draw a line down the centre, half the line, half it again and draw in your ovals.

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Step 15

Now fill in the triangle from shoulders to the top of her shorts in yellow, this shape will be a rectangle.

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Step 16

Put in the two triangles on the top of the t-shirt and then draw in her arms which stretch down to the top of her daddy’s shoulders, remember the arms will bend at the top of the shorts where the elbows are located. Put in her neck in the middle of her shoulders, a rectangular shape and head an oval.

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Step 17

Fill in her hair, remember to keep it reasonable, dont go too far outside the ovals.  Now you are finished the first of the figures.

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Step 18

Now draw a horizontal line just in front of the Daddy and child figures.  Divide this line into 7 equal pieces.

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Step 19

Now put in your triangles and positions for elbows, knees and ankles.

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Step 20

Now fill his pants with colour, the pants are basically two rectangles running from the top of the second triangle down to the ankles.

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Step 21

This figure is coming towards us, so this time draw a squashed long semi circle for the top of the sole of the shoe, and a smaller semi circle for the heel, fill in the pants around the shoe.  The other leg has gone to the back, make sure you have it behind the forward leg.

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Step 22

Fill in his shirt in white, this is a rectangular shape.

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Step 23

Draw in the two rectangles, representing the top of his t-shirt.  Fill in his arms in peach, his hands are going into his pockets, on the front of his pants.

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Step 24

Fill in his neck, a rectangle in the middle of his t-shirt and put in the oval for his head, fill both with peach.  Draw a line through the middle of the oval, this is where is eyes will be, draw a line down the middle of the oval between his eyes, this is where his nose, mouth and chin will be positioned, give him some hair.  This is the third figure positioned.

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Step 25

Now to the right of daddy is mammy holding the hand of her young child.  First draw your vertical line where you want to position mammy, now divide it into 7 equal sections and put in your ovals and triangles.  Remember mammy is in front of daddy so the line has got to be shorter to create the perspective.

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Step 26

Draw a rectangle, representing her dress, this rectangle will stretch from the top of the first triangle to the bottom of the second.

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Step 27

Fill in the rectangle.

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Step 28

Now draw in her leg, look at the shape of the leg, draw a line down from the middle of the dress coming in at a slant to the knee, now curve out to create the calf of the leg and curve back in to form the ankle.  Now put on her show, a semi circle for the heel with  two curves on either side and a horizontal line on the bottom.

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Step 29

Now put in the other leg, remembering that it is going to the front, so it needs to be narrower and that the foot disappears on the forward leg.

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Step 30

Now fill in her dress more, giving it shape going in for the waist and straps for the shoulders.  Now put in her neck, rectangular shape and her left arm bends at the elbow and goes to the foreground while the right arm expends at an angle to her right, slightly bending at the elbow, just put a rectangle at the end representing her hand.

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Step 31

Now draw a vertical line, where you want to position the child, that mammy is holding by the hand and draw in your ovals, put on his shorts, which will rectangular in shape and extend from the top of the second triangle down to the knees.

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Step 32

Fill in the back of the jumper, running from the head down to the top of the shorts, rectangular in shape.

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Step 33

Now fill in his legs, do you see one of the legs is going forward to bend this at the knee, the other leg is coming back, so draw in the sole of the shoe, same as mammy’s.  He is holding is mum’s hand so extend one arm up to meet his mothers hand and put his other hand bending it at the elbow into his pocket at the side.

Now all the figures are in position, you just have to fill in the background, working from the background forward.  First the sky over the bridge, put in the sky in a circular hand movement.  Now the bridge the top of the bridge is black, remember the dark tones will push the drawing in and the light tones will bring it forward.  Next the bricks on the wall on either side of the arch, remember when making the bricks that the top line of bricks have to be positioned in the middle of the bottom layer, the wall will fall down if they are all evan.  The arch way itself is the lightest tone on the bridge, making sure it will stand out.  Darken the arch going in, so that this will run inwards, dark tones pushing the drawing back.  Look at the arrows they will help with the direction of your stroke application.

Finally the ground, always apply any surface that needs to be walked on left to right or horizontal to the bottom of the page, you apply your stroke in any other direction and the illusion will be gone.  Do you notice that the road is darker in front of the bridge, this is also to give the illusion that the road is going back.  Finally place a shadow under the figures to ground them.

Congratulations, you have finished this drawing.  Please send on what you have drawn to me at my web page at and I will post them all up under this lesson.  Remember the most importing thing is to take your time, look at the pictures and ask your mam or dad if you run into problems.

Looking forward to seeing your work.  I will be posting more lessons during the week.  This will be the first of many to keep you all working hard at your drawing.

Regards  Carmel

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Work created by students for this project. Great work, well done Katelyn and Tom.